Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Strap-Ons, Explained

How and why you should be using one.

StocksyDesign by Monica Park

Strap-on play has recently made its way to the forefront of the Internet's sexual bucket list, many thanks to a certain pegging scene in Broad City. Using a strap-on is not all pegging though, and a major perk is you can use one no matter who you're with or how you sexually identify.

Claire Cavanah, co-founder of Babeland, tells MarieClaire.com that using a strap-on can make you feel powerful and in control, as the person doing the penetrating during sex. "It's a role reversal for some couples," she explains.

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And it's true that there is something very sexy about feeling like you have a dick when you don't have one—take it from yours truly. Just wearing a strap-on can make you feel like a whole new person.

Of course, when one person wants to try strap-on play, that doesn't mean your partner wants to engage, too. "It feels intimidating to be on either end of a strapped on dildo," Cavanah says. "There's concern that it will take the place of other kinds of sex."

And while there's nothing wrong with wanting something up your butt, Daniel Saynt—chief conspirator of NSFW, a digital agency and private club—notes that pegging might be the last "taboo frontier" for many. As an intimate experience with intense orgasmic benefits, it might be the best sexual venture you haven't tried yet.

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The prostate—a small gland with a walnut-like texture—is located just inside the anus and produces a prostatic fluid that's an essential component of semen. "The right dildo/strap-on combination will perfectly align with your prostate, helping stimulate it and releasing seminal fluid in a process called 'milking.' Many consider the prostate to be the male g-spot but I feel that it's a lot more powerful than that," says Saynt. "While stimulating the prostate, men can experience waves of orgasms."

"As an intimate experience with intense orgasmic benefits, it might be the best sexual venture you haven't tried yet."

Many strap-ons also have a pocket where you can stick a vibrator. This way, you can achieve clitoral stimulation while pleasuring your partner. And just because cis-women lack prostates, doesn't mean they can't enjoy being penetrated by a strap-on as well. (That's right, even people with penises can wear strap-ons). The opening of the anus is full of nerves within the first two inches that can trigger intense pleasure when stimulated by a dildo. It is also possible to have your clitoris stimulated through the anterior wall, or the a-spot.

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For people with vaginas having sex with other people with vaginas (though this applies to everyone, regardless of their genitalia), they can provide G-spot stimulation and a feeling of fullness, just like with a penis—only this time, you get to choose yours, which is cool.


Step 1: Shopping For the Right Gear

On that note, when it comes to buying your first dildo for anal strap-on play, now is *not* the time to go full-monty and buy a 10-inch bright orange specimen (as much fun as that sounds). Saynt suggests sticking to something between five and six inches. You can work up to bigger stuff if you want, but the prostate is two inches in, so you don't have to buy a yardstick.

The next thing on the shopping list is a harness. Personally, this is my favorite part. Cavanah says there are two types of strap-ons to choose from: "Two-strap harnesses fit around your legs, keep harnesses secure, and generally keep genitals open for play. G-string varieties (also called one-strap harnesses) fit like a thong," Cavanah explains. Harnesses also come with either D-rings or buckles.

"My favorite is the Jaguar, which makes me feel like a dom goddess."

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Try both to figure out which is easiest for you to tighten and untighten, and feels most comfortable (as well as badass). My favorite is the Jaguar, which is made of creamy leather and makes me feel like a dom goddess. Saynt notes that leather can cause some chafing—though I've never experienced this—so if you want something more comfortable with a cozier fit, check out The Tomboi.

You'll also need some O-rings: These hold the strap-on in place in the harness. They come in a variety of sizes in a four-pack) to accommodate different sizes of dildos. If all of this seems confusing to you, ask a sales associate at your local sex boutique for help.


Step Two: Preparing For Strap-On Play

Lube is especially important during anal because the anus doesn't lubricate itself in the same way a vagina does. Lube also reduces friction and the last thing you want to do is tear up anyone's anus. I repeat: Never ever have anal sex of any kind without lube and definitely use lube for vaginal sex, if needed, too. Just always use lube, okay? Promise?

If your dildo is silicon, you'll also want to steer clear of silicon lubes, as they can corrode the toys. Instead, try a hybrid silicon/water-based lube that has all the staying power of silicon, without the corrosion.

GettyDesign by Monica Park

Another tip: Don't buy anything too phallic if your partner is a cis-male. It's all up to your comfort level, but Saynt recommends sticking to dildos that look like sex toys rather than penises to prevent your partner from getting hung up on his sexual identity.

Before you launch straight into pegging, Saynt also suggests starting with a well-lubed finger and massaging the anus to relax it. Here, you'll want to go slowly (seriously). From there, move on to butt plugs and small anal toys. Make sure you check in with your partner regularly to ensure they feel safe and comfortable.

For vaginal stimulation, lube up the dildo well before plunging in and if you're engaging in butt stuff, prepare for some poop. Pretending there won't be any fecal matter—or worse, fearing it so much you won't even do butt stuff—is silly. Trying an enema before anal play can expel any waste from the rectum, but that's totally up to you, too. Enemas aren't dangerous, as long as they're conducted properly. Saynt recommends the Tom of Finland hot douche for those who want to cover their bases.


Step Three: The Clean-Up

Since these toys can come into contact with fecal matter and bacteria, thoroughly wiping down your toys with soap and warm water afterwards is super important for preventing infections. You'll want to pop your dildo in a pot of boiling water to kill any bacteria, as long as it doesn't contain a motor.

If your strap on is made of nylon, you can throw it in the washing machine (but always read the cleaning directions beforehand) while leather harnesses just need a bit of soap and water.

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